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Freelancer Job Referrals

Community Member

*UPDATE 6/28 - Job Referrals feature is now available to all talent!


We are excited to share a new offering to enable freelancer job referrals, which we are rolling out to freelancers beginning in late March. This offering will provide the option to refer another freelancer on Upwork when you decline a job invite. Referring someone is a quick action that can help spread job opportunities. 


We realize many freelancers would like to be responsive to job invites and leave clients with a positive impression, even when they are unable to accept an invitation. With the freelancer job referral offering, we hope to provide an avenue to help with this by enabling you to refer a freelancer you know or search for a freelancer on Upwork who might be a good fit when declining a job invite. Our aim is to help freelancers obtain work best suited for their expertise, spread opportunity and help clients gain high quality talent for their jobs all while growing professional networks and relationships. 


How it works:


When declining a job invite, freelancers will have the option to help a fellow freelancer by referring them to the job. 

  • To refer a freelancer, simply paste their profile URL or the email that is associated with their account when prompted after selecting “Refer a Freelancer”. If the email is not associated with an Upwork account, they will not receive the referral.
  • You can either refer a freelancer you already know or search for a qualified freelancer on Upwork to recommend.

You may notice new notifications indicating the option to refer other freelancers to jobs you are declining within the invitation and “Find Work” pages:


Freelancer A Invitation to Interview.png



From your “My Proposals” page, you may notice a “Referrals” tab which allows you to view your referral progress including how many people you have referred and jobs referred to you.


Referrals tab.png



What will the referred freelancer see?


When being referred for a job, the invite email and notifications will additionally indicate when a freelancer is being referred to a job and will also list the name of the referring freelancer. 


The process to accept or decline the job invite, even when invited through a referral, remains the same. Accepting an invitation from a referral does not cost Connects.


Freelancer B Invitation to Interview.png



Freelancer B Invitation Email.png



What will the client see?


When a freelancer is referred for a job invite, the client will see that the freelancer was “Referred” along with the name of the referring freelancer. Otherwise, the information clients see stays the same.  

Client Proposal Manager.png



Do I earn any perks when referring a freelancer?


Referring a freelancer does not include a monetary bonus, but a referral can be helpful to both freelancers and clients. We have heard from the community that helping other freelancers and extending or leveraging your professional networks helps maximize the freelancing experience. Referrals allow freelancers to help one another find new opportunities, aid clients in finding the right fit for their project, build relationships with clients and showcase the freelancer's field of expertise. 

Helpful tips


  • Referring a freelancer to a job invite is optional.
  • Only freelancers on Upwork can be referred for a job invite.
  • Invited freelancers can only refer one other freelancer for each job invite they decline, so try to make sure they're a good fit. 
  • You can leave a message for the client to explain why you're recommending a freelancer.
  • Declining a job and referring a freelancer does not affect your JSS. Your response time that displays on your profile will be the same as it would if you simply declined a normal invite. The action taken by the freelancer you refer will have no impact on your profile.
  • If you receive a referral, you will have the option to accept or decline the invitation, and it will affect your response time just like a typical invite. 


Please consider both the client and freelancer before referring a freelancer for a job. If you would not normally accept a job for reasons other than limited capacity to accept or such that it is outside of your expertise for example, it may not be a good fit for a referral.


Visit the FAQ page for more information. As always, we welcome questions and feedback.